DENVER — Rebuilding after a disaster can present opportunities as well as challenges.
The challenges include getting the job done quickly and efficiently. The opportunities involve rebuilding stronger and better.
When it comes to repairing and rebuilding infrastructure damaged in last September’s floods, FEMA’s Stafford Act Section 406 can provide mitigation funds for risk-reduction improvements to roads, waterways, bridges, dams, buildings and other public structures already eligible for Public Assistance reimbursement.
Mitigation projects are being undertaken throughout the 18 Colorado counties designated eligible for FEMA Public Assistance, particularly in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties. The goal is to reduce risk, reduce damages, and reduce the threat to life and property from future flooding events.
As Coloradans continue recovery efforts, nearly 200 Public Assistance repair projects now include some form of Section 406 mitigation. Many of these projects involve "armoring," or shoring up, stream banks scraped and weakened by the flooding. Workers are also elevating electrical equipment out of harm’s way in public buildings and in the field, and doing what they can to strengthen piers and other supports under bridges.
FEMA typically reimburses at least 75 percent of eligible costs for projects that return infrastructure to its pre-disaster condition. Under certain circumstances, FEMA can also fund Section 406 mitigation measures as long the project is cost effective.
Most types of mitigation projects in this disaster recovery can be considered cost-effective and eligible for funding if they are performed on disaster-damaged infrastructure and reduce the potential for damages from similar events in the future.
Cost-effectiveness, along with other conditions for eligibility, are determined on a case-by-case basis. Applicants for 406 mitigation should consult with their FEMA Public Assistance Coordinator for more detailed information and guidance.